The Melting Arctic

Some interesting commentary here (Science Progress, “The Arctic Sea Ice Death Spiral Continues,” by Joe Romm).


Arctic sea ice volume by month in cubic kilometers (with simple quadratic trend lines projecting to zero volume, details here).  The bottom (red) line is September volume.

A couple of interesting statements included,

In November, Rear Admiral David Titley, the Oceanographer of the Navy, testified that “the volume of ice as of last September has never been lower…in the last several thousand years.” Titley, who is also the Director of Navy’s Task Force Climate Change, said he has told the Chief of Naval Operations that “we expect to see four weeks of basically ice free conditions in the mid to late 2030s.”

Wieslaw Maslowski of the Naval Postgraduate School has “projected a (virtually) ice-free fall by 2016 (+/- 3 yrs).”

While I don’t think this means we won’t need new icebreakers, it may mean we will need Arctic Patrol Cutters sooner than we think.

4 thoughts on “The Melting Arctic

  1. Well, some may ‘yawn’, but fresh water from ice-melt floats on top of heaver seawater and that is where the problems start to effect the North Atlantic oscillation (NAO).

    Here are two related articles:
    #1 Measuring Ocean Salinity from Space
    May 26, 2011 | NASA

    “The breakthrough moment for oceanographer Gary Lagerloef, the principal investigator for NASA’s new Aquarius mission, came in 1991…. Salinity, or saltiness, plays a critical role in ocean circulation and is a key tracer for understanding the ocean’s role in Earth’s global water cycle.

    #2 Glacier Loss in Greenland Could Fill Lake Erie
    May 25, 2011 | Ohio State University

    “In the last decade, two of the largest three glaciers draining [Greenland] have lost enough ice that, if melted, could have filled Lake Erie.” Quoted from Ohio State University research release.

    • And expecting any of us here in the CG to do anything about it is about as effective as you whining to the cashier at McDonalds that you don’t like the menu.

      Get the President to mandate our presence in the area in the Guidance for Employment of the Force (GEF) and Congress to appropriate the assetts (ice-reinforced hulls) and personnel billets and we in the CG will start caring. Until then, we in the CG have other things more pressing to be dealing with that we are actually ordered to (and more importantly actually funded to be) doing.

      Double Yawn for your bloviation.

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